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WASHINGTON, September 22 (Itar-Tass) —— At the meetings with the US top officials Kyrgyz parliamentary speaker Asilbek Zheenbekov confirmed the Bishkek intentions to turn the transit centre at the Manas airport in a civilian facility. Zheenbekov told Itar-Tass on Friday that he had several meetings with officials from the US State Department, the US National Security Council and members of the US Congress.
“We have discussed regional security, particularly Afghanistan. We are far from being indifferent how the situation will be developing in the country after 2014. Moreover, last May we signed an agreement (with NATO) to provide a ground corridor for cargo shipments in Afghanistan,” Zheenbekov went on to say.
The Kyrgyz parliamentary speaker acknowledged that Kyrgyzstan is seriously concerned over the threat for terrorism to spread to the countries in Central Asia after the withdrawal of the coalition forces from Afghanistan. “A real threat existed there, before the coalition troops came in the country and in 1999, when the militants had infiltrated in our country from Afghanistan. But then, thanks God, we succeeded to fight them down,” he noted. “Therefore, the threat always exists and now as well. But we hope that the security forces in Afghanistan will be in the condition by 2014 that the Afghan forces will be able to cope with their problems,” he remarked. The United States also voiced such hopes. Otherwise, after the withdrawal of the coalition troops “those countries, which are situated near Afghanistan, will have to settle the situation.”
The parliamentary speaker recalled that drug trafficking is one of the main problems related with Afghanistan. “Some 30% of drugs are being trafficked through our corridor, for which the drug barons and organized crime will be fighting for. Our mission is to seal off these drug trafficking channels,” Zheenbekov pointed out.
As for the transit centre at Manas, the Kyrgyz parliamentary speaker noted that during his meetings “the US officials did not make any hints over the US to continue to use its military based after 2014.” “In each meeting we noted that we have an agreement until 2014 that we intend to fulfil fully, and after 2014, as President Atambayev stated, we intend to have only a civilian facility at Manas,” he added.